Essential Software & Ressources for Rapid Prototyping
This is a curated list of software we recommend to use for rapid prototyping. While we prefer open source software we will always recommend the best tool for the job. Updated 2020/03/23.
The list is a mix of paid and free software.
These are tools to help you program software and microcontrollers, e.g Arduino UNO, NodeMCU or ESP32. The most basic tool are the Arduino IDE. All tools are available for Mac/Win/Linux.
- Arduino - IDE/Editor for Programming Microcontrollers
- PlatformIO - complete ecosystem for Microcontrollers
- Sublime Text - Text Editor & IDE
- Visual Studio Code - Code editor/IDE
- Atom.io - Good text editor/IDE
- Processing - Artistic Programming IDE
- XOD - Visual Programming for Microcontrollers
- ArduBlock - Visual Programming for Arduino
- Sourcetreeapp - GIT collaboration manager
Tools for creating and manipulating 3D files. From complete production packages like Fusion to special tools like MeshLab.
- Autodesk Fusion 360 - Integrated Solid, NURBS, Surface and Mesh Modeler
- FreeCAD - open-source parametric 3D modeler
- OpenSCAD - The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller
- Blender - open source 3D creation suite
- Meshmixer - clean, repair and manipulate triangle meshes
- MeshLab - extensive and powerful tool for processing and editing triangle meshes
2D Vector drawing is the basis of all digital production machines. It's resolution independent and comes in many file-types. CAD software like AutoCAD often works differently from ordinary vector apps.
- Inkscape - Open Source Professional Vector Graphics Editor - Linux/Mac/Win
- CorelDRAW - Professional Vector Graphics Editor - Win/Mac
- Qcad - CAD software - Mac/Win/Linux
- Autodesk Fusion 360 - Full 2D/3D sketching environment
- Autodesk AutoCAD - The defacto standard in CAD - Mac/Win
- Affinity Designer - Illustrator alternative - - Mac/Win
2D bitmaps is everything pixel based like photos. Most wellknown app is Photoshop. These apps create and manipulate images and produce files not suitable for production machines.
- Gimp - Open Source Photoshop clone - Linux/Mac/Win
- Paint.net - Open Source Photoshop clone - Win Only
- Affinity Photo - Photoshop alternative - Mac/Win
- Darktable - photography workflow application and raw developer
Electronics Scematic & PCB Layout
- KiCAD - Cross Platform and Open Source Electronics Design Automation Suite
- Autodesk Fusion 360 - Full Electronics Design, PCB and Prototyping Environment
Video Editing /Projection Mapping
Tools for editing, colorgrading, compositing and projecting video material.
- DaVinci Resolve - HighEnd Editing/Colorgrading/Compositing software - Cross Platform
- Lightworks - Hollywood-level video editor
- ShotCut - open source, cross-platform video editor
- MadMapper - advanced tool for video and light mapping
- VPT - free multipurpose realtime projection
Audio Editing /Generation
Tools for music production, recording, manipulating and converting digital audio.
- Audacity - multi-track audio editor and recorder
- Reaper - complete digital audio production application
- PureData - visual programming language for multimedia
- Ableton Live - software for music creation and performance
- MaxMSP - interactive multi-media environment
Tools for layouting books, magazines and documents
A collection of online tools for creating, converting and manipulating objects, files and code.
Boxmakers and one Table maker
- MakerCase - versatile box maker/generator
- BoxMaker - create a simple box
- Boxes.py - Multible box types
- Viking box - uses historic viking connector
- Table Maker - Custom table generator
- Thingiverse - 3D object database
- Fusion 360 models - objects and projects
- GrabCAD Online Library - Large CAD library
Collection of introductory video-tutorials to some of the tools linked to on this page. Especially Fusion 360 and Inkscape.